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Researchers: Bonobos eating swamp greens help explain human brain development


From ScienceDaily:

Observations of bonobos in the Congo basin foraging in swamps for aquatic herbs rich in iodine, a critical nutrient for brain development and higher cognitive abilities, may explain how the nutritional needs of prehistoric humans in the region were met. This is the first report of iodine consumption by a nonhuman primate and it is published in the open access journal BMC Zoology. …

Dr. Hohmann said: “Evolutionary scenarios suggest that major developments of human evolution are associated with living in coastal areas, which offer a diet that triggered brain development in hominins. The results of our study suggest that consumption of aquatic herbs from swamps in forest habitat could have contributed to satisfying the iodine requirements of hominin populations used to diets prevalent in coastal environments.”

He added: “Our report potentially answers the question of how apes obtain iodine from natural food sources, when many populations inhabit areas considered to be iodine deficient. Other apes such as chimpanzees and gorillas have also been observed eating aquatic herbs, which suggests that they could be obtaining essential iodine from these sources.”

The authors caution that without data on the iodine status of wild bonobos, it is difficult to tell how much iodine they absorb, although given the high concentrations in the herbs, it is likely to be substantial. The authors also stress that the iodine concentrations obtained at the field site of LuiKotale may not be reflective of the entire Congo basin. Paper. (open access) – Gottfried Hohmann, Sylvia Ortmann, Thomas Remer, Barbara Fruth. Fishing for iodine: what aquatic foraging by bonobos tells us about human evolution. BMC Zoology, 2019; 4 (1) DOI: 10.1186/s40850-019-0043-z More.

Given how little substance there is to all this, they could at least have included some cute bonobo pix.

Re human brain, you may as well also consider this: Eating fat, not meat, led to bigger human type brains, say researchers. Theories of the evolution of the human brain are a war of trivial explanations that no one dare admit are too trivial for what they purport to explain. It’s like blaming World War II on indigestion, only monstrously bigger.

Earlier discussion of the fat theory.

Starchy food may have aided human brain development

Do big brains matter to human intelligence?

Human evolution: The war of trivial explanations


What great physicists have said about immateriality and consciousness

Well, we could turn this around and say that becoming human is so rare and unlikely that it must be "fine tuned". After all, if we need all of the following to come into existence... opposable thumbs, bipedal walking, omnivorous diet, naked skin, ability to run long distances, taming fire, chipping stones, fats and starches, vocal apparatus, long gestation period, long childhood, monthly menstrual cycle, and now iodine. Add your own to the list: how much of those things did we really need to come into being? As Aaron says, let's collect up all the posited ideas, further to what Denyse O'Leary has done. Then we can have a poll about how many (if any) of them make any sense at all, and how many (perhaps all?) are just speculation and pretend science. Fasteddious
Nope! Brain development AaronS1978
Shouldn't we consider the TEENY chance that whatever these "aquatic greens" are (why does the article not NAME the plants involved?) might be TASTY to bonobos? The idea that ANY animal, including humans would somehow KNOW, just by looking at some green plant, that the plant would make his grandchildren have bigger brains is Lunacy. But, yeah, I understand the whole "ya gotta invent a NEW strange idea to get FUNDING for another waste of time" thing is the ENTIRE basis of most "researchers' " lives. vmahuna
Can we get a count of human brain development explanations with in the past two years. I know they are ALL different from viruses to dancing, they ALL are the reason the human brain developed. I’m not trying to be sarcastic but this is like why men (and women) like boobs theories, in fact I’m sure it’s worse AaronS1978

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